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Communities Moving Towards Environmental Sustainability
Emily Shoemake

By: Emily Shoemake on March 29th, 2018

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Communities Moving Towards Environmental Sustainability


Here at Presbyterian Senior Living, we believe in being stewards to the environment, as everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. 

Two Communities Awarded Grants for Solar Energy Projects

Recently, two of our communities were awarded grants to install solar energy facilities on their respective properties. These grants were approved by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, on March 16, 2018, and are funded by the Commonwealth Finance Authority (CFA).  Westminster Woods at Huntingdon was awarded $1.2 million in funds and Quincy Village was awarded $1 million. These grants will allow the installation of rooftop or ground-mounted solar panels that will generate significant amounts of electricity. 

Community Impact

"This grant will give us the opportunity to lock in energy costs at a fixed rate for the foreseeable future," said Westminster Woods at Huntingdon executive director Chad Evans. "It will also help us to forecast and manage expenses better. One of our core values is sustainability, so this gives us the opportunity to build on that belief."

The executive director of Quincy Village, Jodi Murphy, said, "pursuing these grants was the right thing to do. It's a great opportunity to increase energy efficiency at our community." This project will allow the community to upgrade lighting, transitioning 2,500 light fixtures from fluorescent bulbs to LED bulbs. This change alone could save roughly $1,700 a year in energy costs, and greatly reduce energy consumption.

man gardening with shovelResidents at both communities are generally extremely excited about the new conservation project. Since the installation of solar energy panels at PSL's Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Maryland, residents at other PSL communities have been eager to see similar conservation efforts closer to their homes. With the approval of these grants, our communities are showing their commitment to supporting environmental sustainability. 


Benefits of Solar Energy 

Solar powered systems are an excellent alternative to the traditional use of fossil fuels. Typical fossil fuels used for energy include coal and natural gas. Both of these nonrenewable resources emit carbon dioxide into the air with use. table showing carbon dioxide emissionsThe air pollution rates from heating and electrical generation alone are astronomical, not to mention all of the CO2 produced daily by motor vehicles. Using solar energy from the sun significantly decreases the production of CO2, and in turn reduces air pollution rates. Additionally, solar energy is an infinite resource and does not have any potentially dangerous extraction procedures like traditional fossil fuels. In 2016, the Solar Energies Industry Association reported that solar energy has offset 37 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, an equivalent to planting 956 million trees!

Cathedral Village Named 2018 Best of the Best for Unparalleled Green Practices

Recently, Masterpiece Living awarded PSL's Cathedral Village in Philadelphia, Pa a 2018 Best of the Best award winner for their unparalleled green practices. This award was created to "shine a spotlight on truly outstanding practices and programs that are more comprehensive, systematic and measurable than typically found in the aging services field." Cathedral Village had a number of attributes that helped them stand out from other communities.

woman in greenhouseThe main focus of this award was their active development of their greenhouses. Two community greenhouses provide 2,700 square feet devoted to tropical and arid plants. The greenhouses are located close to the skilled nursing and rehab center, making them extremely accessible to residents.

Additionally, Cathedral Village employs a full-time horticultural therapist and provides workshops to encourage residents and team members to remain physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually engaged through gardening, botany lessons and bird and insect observation.

Cathedral Village Greenhouse

Cathedral Village is home to a Zen Garden, Sensory Garden, and gazebo to support plant based therapy. Cathedral Village Horticultural Therapist, Ruth MacCarthy, said, “Our greenhouses encourage people to connect with plants, and to connect with one another, for greater wellness. We’re honored to receive the Best of the Best award from Masterpiece Living and will continue to encourage others to create their own green spaces for healthier living.” 

At PSL, our Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC's) are equipped to provide residents with the ability to use environmentally sustainable practices in their everyday lives. For more information on how our CCRC's can enrich your life, download our eBookNew Call-to-action

About Emily Shoemake

As the Digital Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at Presbyterian Senior Living, Emily produces content for the PSL blog and engages with our audience on social media. Emily is a Shippensburg University and Delta Zeta alumna from Bedford County, Pennsylvania.